Alison Brady's solo at Capsule Gallery issues a feminist statement. The artist poses with one of her unsettling works, "Untitled," 2010. (Photo CDA)
Russian talent Oleg Dou's "Narcissus 2," 2015, at Deborah Colton Gallery, bows both to the future and the Greco-Roman past. (Courtesy the artist and gallery)
At Spring Street Studios, a FotoFest sign bears a significant message. (Photo CDA)
A subject captured by Houston creative Sarah Gish's ongoing road trip/documentary project, "Ignite Your Life." (Courtesy the artist)
Sarah Gish ventured far and wide, including to "Prada Marfa" for her ongoing series, "Ignite Your Life." (Courtesy the artist)
Manual's (Ed Hill & Suzanne Bloom) "Yellow Birch Cycle #7," Sept. 9, 2015, at Moody Gallery, highlighted the leafy beauty of the Houston photographers' New England retreat. (Courtesy the artist and gallery)
European photog Natalia Wiernik's "Back," 2016, at Anya Tish Gallery (Courtesy the artist and gallery)
Natalia Wiernik's "Girl with a Rooster," 2013, at Anya Tish Gallery, plays up riotous patterning. (Courtesy the artist and gallery)
Core Fellow Rodrigo Valenzuela's "Sin Héroes" 2016 installation at David Shelton Gallery busted the boundaries of photography. (Courtesy the artist and gallery)
National Geographic photog David Doubilet's "A Cuttlefish Pauses over a Field of Coral Looking for a Place to Deposit Eggs, Great Barrier Reef, Australia," 2009, at Spring Street Studios (Courtesy the artist and FotoFest)
Juan Jose Barboza-Gubo & Andrew Mroczek's "Gaby," undated, at McClain Gallery, is included in a show that reveals transgendered populations in Peru. (Courtesy the artists and gallery)
Edward Burtynsky's "Mount Edziza Provincial Park #1, Northern British Columbia, Canada," 2012, at The Silos at Sawyer Yards (© Edward Burtynsky, courtesy Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto / Von Lintel Gallery, Los Angeles)
At The Silos at Sawyer Yards, Canadian photo great Edward Burtynsky's retrospective possesses a heroic, epic quality, among the highlights of FotoFest's "Changing Circumstances." (Photo CDA)
The final official weekend of FotoFest happens now. With many shows closing imminently, make plans ASAP to catch the remaining hours of FotoFest 2016: the 16th International Biennial of Photography and Mixed Media Art.
Many have commented that this year’s FotoFest, “Changing Circumstances: Looking at the Future of the Planet,” is decisively the most prescient in the nonprofit’s 30-plus year history. Among the 16 biennials to date — America’s most important convergence of photography and photo-related art — past themes have also bowed to environmental concerns: “Water” (2004) and “Earth” (2006). Nonetheless, 2016’s convergence somehow seems more epic and urgent, especially as Houston’s population recovers from yet another another devastating flood.
At its epicenter is a museum-level retrospective for the iconic Canadian lensman Edward Burtynsky, whose images have also graced the cover of Artnews. Burtynsky is presented at the newly minted Silos at Sawyer Yards, where the vast industrial space is a good match for the photographer’s truly heroic prints (though Sunday, April 24).
Another must-see is Spring Street’s trifecta of works by National Geographic photographers David Doubilet, David Liittschwager, and Joel Sartore, who focus on the vast species of the planets, including the oceans, in a view that underscores the beauty and peril of extinction of the creatures of the lands and the sea (though April 24).
Also underscoring the nature theme, and among the strongest gallery offerings, are the pioneering duo Manual — aka Houston-based Suzanne Bloom and Ed Hill — shown at Moody Gallery, where the duo’s New England backyard (where they idyllically summer) provides rich subjects for meditations on flora and fauna (exhibition closed but works available).
Besides these earth-centered topics, FotoFest inclusively allows participating spaces to introduce other topics. Among the most provocative are Alison Brady’s haunting, surreal views of feminism at Capsule Gallery (through May 14), fashion portraiture by Natalia Wiernik presented at Anya Tish Gallery (on view in their current 20th anniversary show, through May 28) and Sarah Gish’s conceptual series “Ignite Your Life,” which recently shuttered at Flo Paris Bakery. Rounding out the exhibitions was an intriguing installation melding architecture, nature and sculpture by “It” Core Fellow Rodrigo Valenzuela at David Shelton Gallery (closed, but works still available from the exhibition).
Finally, kudos to McClain Gallery for presenting the unflinching, brave work of Juan Jose Barboza-Gubo & Andrew Mroczek, in a look at the Peruvian LGBTQ community, images powerful, lyrical and intensely topical (through May 14).
Haven’t seen FotoFest 2016 yet? Four participating venues —The Silos at Sawyer Yards, Spring Street Studios, Silver Street Studios and Winter Street Studios — are open Sunday, April 24, in the Washington Avenue Arts District; Sunday hours, 11 am – 6 pm.